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Dance is my Landscape

Dancehouse, Melbourne's longstanding centre for contemporary dance, will host dance maker and dance photographer Gregory Lorenzutti's inaugural Australian exhibition, “Dance is My Landscape” from June 12-14. More than one hundred of the Brazilian-born artist's images will occupy all three floors of the Carlton North dance institution, in a unique display dedicated to the art of capturing motion.

Victoria Chiu's “Do You Speak Chinese?” Photograph by Gregory Lorenzutti

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Although, Lorenzutti may challenge my terminology. “I don't believe in still photography,” he explained over coffee on Brunswick street, “it's a philosophical impossibility.” He is everything one might expect from someone who takes such lucid and captivating images of pure movement; that is, eloquent, with a deep and poetic appreciation of contradiction, and flashing, inquisitive eyes.

If you are a follower of dance in Melbourne particularly, Lorenzutti's images may be familiar to you; in the short space of time since arriving in Melbourne in October 2012, he has become one of the most in-demand, and recognisable dance photographers on the circuit. His work keeps him well-travelled: he has documented the contemporary dance scenes in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, as well as his native Brazil, and more recently Thailand.

Lorenzutti's foray into photography only seriously began in 2009, prior to which he was a dancer with two major companies in Brazil. He received his training at Centro de Artes Nos da Dança and Atelier Coreografico do Rio de Janeiro, studying classical and contemporary dance. For five years, he danced with the Renato Vieira Companhia de Dança, later being appointed rehearsal director and choreography assistant, positions he held from 2005 to 2012.

Concurrently, he was offered a full-time position with Companhia de Ballet da Cidade de Niteroi (Niteroi City Ballet), and danced several principal roles in its repertoire, touring in Brazil, South and North America and Europe.

In 2012, following Lorenzutti's move to Australia he took part into Antony Hamilton’s work “Forces” for Sugar Mountain Festival. In the same year, he received a Space Grant at Dancehouse, where he developed his first solo work in Australia for film and stage, “Alaska Gallery”in collaboration with Brazilian film maker Joaquim Tome. Lorenzutti is currently resident photographer at Dancehouse.

Jane McKernan’s “Mass Movement.” Photograph by Gregory Lorenzutti
Jane McKernan’s “Mass Movement.” Photograph by Gregory Lorenzutti

His background as a dancer and dance maker informs his photography practice in the most literal of ways, too: he moves almost constantly while shooting. From his own dance practice, it is that he “knows the dizziness of the dancer,” which drains beautifully into his pictures. “Sometimes, I feel that it is the picture moving me, not a picture of movement,” he suggests, “in photography there is a deep sense of something always missing. What is this moment? What is not there? Photography is a poetics of absence.”

Looking to extend his knowledge of the darkroom, Lorenzutti attended Atelie da Imagem and Senac in Rio de Janeiro, and began to photograph Brazil's wealth of dance companies immediately. His work was featured in a collective photographic exhibition in Rio de Janeiro at Espaço Sesc Gallery in Copacabana in November 2014 - February 2015. Not content to approach dance from behind the lens, Lorenzutti has collaborated on a variety of dance projects with Australian dance creators, performing with Chunky Move, Force Majeure, choreographer Yumi Umiumare, and Annalouise Paul.

“Dance is My Landscape” traces Lorenzutti's photographic heritage from Brazil to Australia, including images of contemporary dance from both territories. As well as being enlightening, moving and a kind of pinning down of dance, Lorenzutti's images gently reflect deeper questions on the nature of movement, culture, art and identity originating in the work, or in the watcher.

Penelope Ford


Penelope is the founding editor of Fjord Review, international magazine of dance and ballet. Penelope graduated from Law and Arts with majors in philosophy and languages from the University of Melbourne, Australia, before turning to the world of dance. She lives in Italy.

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